Independent publishers with in-house sales teams benefit from the community knowledge and personal relationships their staffers can cultivate with local advertisers. But what about hyperlocal publications that can’t afford to hire teams of experienced professionals to sell and manage the campaigns that run on their sites? Increasingly, independent publishers are relying on technology to fill the gap.
Companies that provide publishers with ad sales support and management tools have become a happy medium for publications that can’t afford to employ full-time reps and aren’t quite satisfied with the low rates they earn from advertising networks alone. BlankSlate CEO Kael Goodman says his company gets between four and 10 times more for directly sold ads than what publishers could expect to earn from networks. At the same time, his company also handles basic business functions—like billing, collections, advertising operations, and customer service—for its partner publications.
Here are five tools that publishers can use to outsource some or all of the advertising operations.
While Blank Slate may be best-known for its self-serve advertising tools, the platform also provides publishers with a host of full-service solutions that allow them to outsource the sales process and monetize their networks. Publishers who partner with BlankSlate for ad sales management can hand over basic business functions, like ad operations, billing, and collections, to the company’s team. The company works on a revenue sharing basis — and generally splits the revenue it generates — with independent publications like Brownstowner, Brokelyn, and Prince of Petworth.
2. Outsourced Ad Ops
Publishers who have their own in-house sales teams but would still like a bit more guidance when it comes to ad management can turn to Outsourced Ad Ops. OAO helps publications with inventory reporting, campaign optimization, trafficking, and troubleshooting. The company also specializes in architecting and implementing new ad serving solutions for its publisher clients, who include WWD.com, Breaking Media, and MSG Interactive. OAO says its services are comparable to the cost of hiring a single in-house staffer to handle ad management, and that its pricing is based on workflow versus hours worked.
isocket is platform that publishers with at least 50,000 to 100,000 page views per month can use to sell ads directly to their own advertisers. The platform helps publishers improve their direct sales performance by outsourcing the most difficult aspects of selling and managing premium ads, including invoicing, payment processing, and scheduling. isocket charges nothing for in-house or bartered ad campaign orders, although it does charge a 9% commission on any self-service orders placed through its platform. The company has worked with leading publishers like TechCrunch, Mashable, and the Cheezburger Network.
Independent publications that don’t have the ad force necessary to package, sell, and optimize their digital ad programs can turn to Operative for help. The company offers an advertising business management platform called Operative.One, which publishers can use to maximize yield and streamline end-to-end ad execution. Publishers who need even more assistance with trafficking and managing their campaigns can rely on the Operative team for remote guidance. Operative offers flexible solutions for publishers like American Media Inc. and the Guardian, and says its tools help companies drive down transaction costs.
5. Media Mint
Even experienced sales teams can have difficulty selling out a site’s inventory, which is where Media Mint comes into play. The company’s remote campaign optimization team can help publishers evaluate competing ad networks, exchanges, and marketplaces to find the right fit for their publications. Media Mint can also work directly with a large publisher’s B2B and B2C clients, and handle the screening of all advertisers before their ads run on a publisher’s site. Media Mint offers a number of services for clients with varying needs, and works with media companies like Technorati Media and Pulpo Media.
Know of other platforms that publishers can use to handle ad sales and management? Leave a description in the comments.